, attached to 1997-08-13

Review by shupadupa

shupadupa {NOTE: I posted this to rec.music.phish the morning after the show. Yeah, I was a bit over-exuberant in my review, but hey, history has my back on this one!}

Subject: Trey & the Rubber Chicken (Starlake Review)

DISCLAIMER: I've only had 2 hours of sleep after driving 4 hours from
Pittsburgh to the DC area after last night's show, and am feeling kind
of loopy, so please don't flame me too bad! ;^)

Howdy pholks,

Once again I emerge from lurkdom to bring more good tidings from the
outstanding Summer Tour. The scene was the Starlake Ampitheatre in
Burgettstown, PA, and my friends, those who were there bore witness to yet another spectacular display of amazing jams and setlist surprises (the kind of stuff that keeps us comin' back! :^) Not being able to get off work till 2:30 thanks to my boss, I made the 4+ hour trek and got there just in time to enjoy a tasty Samuel Smith's in the lot before headin' to the show. From the short time I was there, I surmised that the security was pretty lax - I didn't see any yellow shirts walking around, and the lot seemed pretty darn lively. The venue is your standard summer concert shed, though it did seem a tad bit smaller than other mega-corporate sheds such as the Miller Lite Deer Creek Amp. or the GTE Va. Beach Amp. (FWIW, this was the Coca Cola Starlake Amp., and there were Coke ads all over w/ a picture of a frosty bottle of bev. w/ the phrase "Always a Hit!" next to it ;^) Damn, those Coke marketeers sure do their research!! Security inside seemed fairly lax as well, no cavity searches or anything to get in, and I only saw a couple of people on the aisles get hassled about their tickets. Anyhow, onto the show...

1st Set:

Amarina???*, Poor Heart, Stash, H20 in the Sky, Gumbo->JAM->Horse->SITM, Beauty of My Dreams, Crosseyed and Painless->Wilson**, Sweet Adeline

* - not sure if this is right, supposedly an Elton John cover, though I
didn't recognize it
** - w/ Little Drummer Boy ending

AMARINA???
Again, I'm not sure who sang this song originally or if this is even the
right song title, but judging by the lyrics (something about ballerinas
- that's all I remember!). Sung by Page, a very mellow, pretty opener,
caught everyone off guard.

Poor Heart
Now were gettin' started. Great solo by Trey - I swear he even extended the solo a few bars beyond the standard solo (man, they're just jammin' out everything! ;^) Good version, got everyone pumped for...

Stash
I called this one, a fairly long version, w/ standard chaotic Stash
jamming until they brought it down a bit and Trey started on some of
that Middle-Eastern type jamming that fits so well into Stash jams. This built up for a while then just freakin' exploded w/ an incredible
extended release at the end that just wouldn't quit!! This was quite
orgasmic, to say the least.

NOTE: Somewhere early in the set (during Poor Heart?), someone chucked a rubber chicken up on stage. After the song, Trey picked it
up and pretended he was eating it like an ear of corn (?!?), then set it
down on Page's baby grand. From that point on, before each song, Trey would pick up the chicken and pretend like he was biting its head off, then set it back down on the piano and bust into the next song.
Definitely weird, but amusing as hell!

H20 in the Sky
Ok, this is a cute little country ditty as you all probably know by
now. It probably wouldn't kill me if I never heard them do this one again live, but hey - who's complainin?

Gumbo>Jam>Horse>SITM
After hearing about what went down in Chi-town, I was mega-psyched to hear them bust this one out. Very solid composed part, then right at the part when Trey does his solo, the jam just sorta goes off into the realm of Funk. For about 10 minutes or so, we just got a laid back funk groove a la Wolfman's Bro, with lots of noodling and effects from Trey, and Page funkin' it up on the Clav and Mellotron. Nothin' too exciting compared to the funk we've seen on tour. They started to hit the hose a little bit though, bringing it to an almost Theme-like jam... I could have sworn they were gonna bring down to the "from the bottom..from the top" lines, but alas the jam subsided in a beautiful fashion, and Trey's pretty little strumming emerges as the opening progressions to Horse. The crowd was excited to hear this (1st of tour?) as was I. Really brought the energy levels back up after the exhausting Gumbo Jam.

Beauty of My Dreams
Standard. Don't remember anything special about this.

Crosseyed and Painless >
YESSS!!! My first one live, and boy did it smoke! Played at a slightly
slower tempo than usual, it was exceptionally played with Fishman all
over those tricky vocals. Just an exuberant, hi-energy jam is all I
really remember, since my peanut sized bladder was near exploding and I had to cut out in the middle of the jam, but got back just in time for them to bring it down to a sinister, slow jam to which Trey hit the opening note to...

Wilson
Fuck yeah! This practically tore the roof off the place, and was the
perfect closer to a blistering first set. Right at the last chord, where
they usually close out and Trey thanks the crowd (c'mon, I need a
musical term here!), they just kept up the noise, and Trey starts
strumming Little Drummer Boy. I swear he was strumming that pick at
about 1000 rpms or so. Played almost the entire song, which must've
really annoyed Fishman since he was doing the closing "go nuts on the
drum kit" and had to extend this for at least a minute or so. Nuts I
tells ya.

Sweet Adeline
Like a cherry on top of the fattest sundae you've eaten in ages!!!

A fantastic set as far as 1st sets go, though on this tour it seems that
it just don't matta if it's 1st set or 2nd set, they're still gonna jam
the hell out of it!

Man, did anyone try those soft-baked pretzels? I've never seen a longer or slower line for PRETZELS, so after waiting about 20 min. during setbreak I bought 2 Cinnamon Sugar pretzels just for the sake of waiting, but man was it worth it. Definitely check this out if you go
back to Starlake. The Pittsburgh Brewery Co. (or something like that)
Pilsner was pretty darn good too. Anyhow,

2nd Set:
Runaway Jim, Ghost -> Izabella, Sleeping Monkey, McGrupp, Sample, ASZ, Golgi, Frankenstein E: Theme

Runaway Jim
OK. I'll be bold and say that this was the most spectacular STANDARD
(see NYE 95 or RR 96 for non-STANDARD versions) version of Jim mine ears have ever heard. No funny stuff or ->My Soul (thank God!), just the most joyous, energetic, goosebump raising jam segment I've ever heard them do in a Jim. It was only around 10 min. or so, but the jam (which was ALL Trey) didn't monkey around- it was the return of Machine Gun Trey in full force 8^) . He just went straight for the meat smoked the solo the likes of which I've never seen heard in any other version. You MUST hear this!!

Ghost >
After hearing this earlier in the tour and on the Sugar Megs page, I was psyched to hear it again. I must say, this song is already turning into a monster! I remember the one thing that kept passing through my mind during the jam was "what a thick groove!" Just totally dense, with Mike slapping out some crazy funk lines. (Note: does anyone else think that Mike's newfound prominence in the mix has anything to do w/ his new bass... he scrapped the 'doc for a sweeeet Modulus Graphite, which I think might have a big influence on his sound. Any opinions?) A great jam that got very rockin, I'm not kiddin! Then Trey started jamming the riff to...

Izabella
Great segue!! An extremely rockin' version, with Trey screaming on the
'doc, and the whole band just providing a raucous backup. A great cover, especially on a night where covers seemed to be the norm. No doubt it's also a tribute to his newest daughter of the same name, which I think is cute!

Whooo! After an insane start to the set, I was ready for a cooldown.

Sleeping Monkey
YESSS!!! What perfect placement for one of my favorite corny Phish
songs! Seriously, you know it's a special set when they bust this out
for anything besides an encore. Even Henriet...er.. Fishman's voice
sounds more refined now in his solo part. Must go along w/ the new look I 'spose. I was in 7th heaven, and was ready for something special...

McGrupp
WooHoooo! My first one live! Not a spectacular version but very solid
and great to see live.

Sample
Lame. I mean they needed to bring the energy back up, but this was bad placement IMO. Normally I'll forgive em if Trey destroys the solo, but this was frighteningly standard, almost hitting the album version note for note.

ASZ
I knew this would be a funk monster, and the boys didn't disappoint! I
love how this song has developed on its own. Also a great showcase for the lights. Chris K. must feel like a kid in a candy store when they do this song, he just hit every single light effect and color imaginable!
The lights keep getting better and better w/ each tour! Anyhow, a good ASZ, around 10-12 minutes - I suppose a standard version by '97
standards (sorry for the redundant redundancy :^)

Was lookin' for a phat Antelope or Disease to close out the set, but
instead we got...

Golgi Crapparatus
Nothin against this song, but I was expecting more to finish off such a
spectacular show. Easily the sloppiest version I've ever heard, with
the band starting off totally out of sync and Trey missing that final
lick. Still a crowd pleaser though.

I thought that would be it, but there was still one more to come...

Frankenstein
Now THAT's more like it! An appropriately rockin closer to finish off a
rockin set. Man, it's something else to watch Trey's fingers on the
fretboard during the trilling solo part.

E: Theme
A good encore song, since it goes from quiet to loud all in the same
song (instead of the obligatory slow song then a rocker to finish).
Standard version, nothing really spectacular, but then all the Themes
nowadays seems to be good after they did away with all the spacey guitar effects from 95/96 versions.

So, sounds like a good show, huh? Well, it was!! Wow, you're good! After my lofty ratings I gave for the Va. Beach show (see Dan Schar's
excellent reviews page http://stickman.biology.ucla.edu/~review/ ), I
feel like a fool for giving it the lofty ratings that I did, cuz overall
this show smoked Va. Beach. Both sets are definitely worth seeking
out. First set highlights - Stash, C&P>Wilson!. Oh yeah the Gumbo was pretty tasty as well! Based on the average, standard 1st set, this set gets a 7.5 . Well above average w/ lots of jams that could pass it off for a good 2nd set. Second set, though shorter than the first, had the INCREDIBLE Jim followed by the scorching Ghost>Izabella, Sl. Monkey and McGrupp. After that they could've played goddamned Greensleeves all night and I would've been in 7th heaven. So I forgive the lame Craparratus and give the 2nd set a 7.5 (would've been well over an 8 had
it not sputtered after ASZ).

So there you have it. A 7.5 - i.e. GET THIS SHOW ON TAPE, DAMMIT! I think I gave the same rating to Va. Beach, but that was a bunch of overinflated bullhonkey compared to Starlake.

Have fun at the Went, y'all, I'll be at the rmp gathering in spirit!


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